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Works » By Title » D » Death of an Insect (4:55 / 1988)

Cindy John

for voice and computer

The sparrow with its beak taps the beetle/and it begins to buzz loudly/as if the bird has set off an alarm-clock/The beetle flies into the air/in a series of clumsy gyrations/and the sparrow follows it gracefully. —Charles Reznikoff

The musical setting falls into three divisions. Firstly, the idea of flight is portrayed depicting not only the speed of the bird in the air, but also the speed of death. The voice then enters, in manipulated form, and sings the poem; this culminates the first section of the piece. The second part illustrates the atmosphere were insects fly around and gradually builds up into disjointed musical fragments describing the clumsy flight of the beetle under the sparrow's attack. Finally, the large chords introduce the last section. This part shows the impact of the realization of death, and the final attempts to survive. CJ

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